• Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Underwater Wine: Tokyo-Based Company Takes Bold Move to Revive Kagoshima Prefecture’s Economy through Unique Winemaking Approach


Feb 12, 2024
Utilizing Undersea Wine Aging to Stimulate Economy of the Southwestern Japan Island

A Tokyo-based company is taking an innovative approach to reviving the local economy in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan. They have submerged wine bottles in an undersea cellar off Amami-Oshima Island in the Oshima Strait, hoping that the aging process will draw attention and customers to the region.

The underwater aging of wine is a well-known practice around the world. The submerged conditions offer a consistent, cool temperature, higher pressure, and protection from excessive light, which are ideal for wine maturation. Company president Yui Moritani explained that while this process is rare in Japan, there is potential for growth and interest.

In January 2024, a total of 500 bottles of European wine were placed in stainless steel cages at a depth of about 20 meters off the town of Setouchi on Amami-Oshima Island. Most of the bottles will remain in the sea until June to be served to customers in July. Additionally, some bottles will be left to age for a longer period so that the company can determine the optimal maturation period for the best tasting wine.

The company recently opened a local restaurant serving wine in Setouchi and plans to establish an underwater aging service for wine bottles from customers in the future. Besides economic goals, Moritani also hopes that the undersea wine cellar will serve as an artificial reef, attracting fish and sea life such as seaweed which will absorb carbon dioxide and improve the environment.

While there are challenges like warmer water temperatures, Moritani remains optimistic about innovation and growth opportunities in Kagoshima Prefecture’s local economy through this unique approach to winemaking. Despite warmer temperatures, there is potential for rapid aging offering an advantage over traditional methods.

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